Malaysian Airlines Ban Hoverboards Due To Fire Risk

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Hoverboards are banned with an increasing number of airlines. According to the latest airline news, Malaysian Airlines would no longer allow such devices on their planes.

Hoverboards may be gaining popularity as Christmas presents this year, but they’re falling out of favor with an increasing number of big airlines. They actually gained popularity with celebrities appearing on television or in online videos riding the scooters. Hoverboards might look cool but they possess one big problem: they are unsafe to transport on an airplane.  As per the latest aviation news, hoverboards have been known as “perilous goods” by the Air Transport Association. They are banned for both carry on and checked in baggages. Internal short circuits can occur within the lithium batteries which can further lead to thermal runaway in which the battery overheats and bursts. Malaysian airlines also reviewed the hoverboard product specifications and found that the details about the size and power of the lithium ion batteries were not provided by the manufacturers. All hoverboards are not labeled accurately, so all the major airlines cannot determine whether they can be taken aboard safely.

These self balancing scooters have few components including

  • Gyroscope: To determine the balance or pitch of the machine
  • Motors: To retain the balance of the board and move it forward
  • Microprocessors: To manage power output to the motors
  • Large batteries: To fuel the device

Now, the major function of this scooter is to remain upright. For doing so, the microprocessors monitor the direction in which a rider is leaning. The gyroscope connected to the microprocessors gather information about the tilt of the board. Each hoverboard is different as they use different battery, motors and microprocessors.

Hoverboards are power driven by lithium metal and lithium ion batteries. If any metal like tools, coins, keys or other batteries come in contact with the battery ends, it can easily lead to electrical current causing tremendous heat and sparks that can even start a fire. The Malaysian aviation news reporter also mentioned that the concerns about the safety of these batteries on planes have gradually increased. Large number of incidents involving smoke and burning has been recorded by the Federal Aviation Administration. The hoverboard battery ratings are not trustworthy and are known to catch fire. Some models claimed to be under the legal limit but upon examination it was found that they actually exceeded what aviation administration allows on any airplane.

Due to government regulations, Australia’s Qantas and Jetstar airlines, together with carriers in the US and New Zealand also banned self balancing scooters, gravity boards or hoverboards onboard. Some hoverboards contain lithium ion batteries of around 160 watt hours, which is not in accordance with the government regulations. Officials also fear that defective devices could suddenly burn which can cause fire.

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